Monthly archives: June, 2015

Mount Holly burns

Mount Holly burned early in the morning on June 17, 2015. Mount Holly was constructed ca. 1856 for Margaret (Johnson) Erwin Dudley after purchasing the land from her father in 1855. The grand Italianate home was most likely built based on plans by Calvert Vaux first published in Harper’s in November 1855 and later in Vaux’s Villas and Cottages (1857). In the 1880s, William Hezekiah Foote became Mount Holly’s owner. His great-grandson, Shelby Foote, used Mount Holly as the setting for his first novel, Tournament, published in 1949. Foote told the Clarion-Ledger in 1973 “the house was erected by a transient architect in 1855, working from plans carried with him and with the assistance of one man who accompanied him and a construction crew of slaves from the Mount Holly plantation.” Mount Holly was similar to two other Italianate Mississippi houses, Aldemar, built for Victor Flournoy ca. 1859 on Lake Washington; and Ammadelle, built 1859, in Oxford. Ammadelle still stands.

At Lakeport, despite the differences in architectural styles, we often tell guests about how Lycurgus’s cousin’s house influenced Lakeport’s design–layout of the parlors and entryway, main staircase in a cross hall, the peculiar arch upstairs probably influenced by Mount Holly, attached kitchen, cast-iron stove set in brick, servants bells, brick walkway…….


Mount Holly, June 17, 2015





More Pictures from June 17, 2015 

Mississippi Preservation Blog: Sad News from Lake Washington

Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory: Mount Holly

Bagley, Clinton. “Mount Holly,” National Register Nomination Form, August 1973.

Carl McIntire, “More on Mt. Holly,” Clarion Ledger, February 18, 1973

Erwin House [Mount Holly], Historic American Building Survey, Library of Congress, 1936.


Updated June 17, 2016

LAKEPORT LEGACIES — Absentee Masters of the Mississippi River

Absentee Masters of the Mississippi River

presented by

Dr. Kelly Houston Jones, Austin Peay State University
Thursday, June 25

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm
Program @ 6:00 pm
Kenneth Rayner

Kenneth Rayner, a resident of North Carolina, purchased a 538 acre Chicot County plantation in 1845. Writing to a friend, he objected to the land being “in the state of Arkansas” and complained “I will never leave my wife so long again.” Two years later, visiting the plantation during the December harvest, he praised his overseer, “I think my overseer a first rate manager…he has, picked, and packed about 220 bales of cotton” despite bad weather. (Image by Matthew Brady; courtesy of East Carolina Manuscript Collection.)

Many masters along the Mississippi River did not reside on their plantations. Instead they relied on overseers to run the day-to-day operations. The absence of a white family in the “big house” could make the plantation a much different place than one with an owner-resident. Dr. Kelly Houston Jones will discuss her work on R.C. Ballard and other area plantation owners who resided away from their holdings, and what those arrangements would have meant for enslaved people living on those plantations.

Please RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.